Winter riding is some of the most exciting and beautiful in the world. It’s a wonderful experience to get out and enjoy it. We take some extra precautions when we’re dealing with cold weather though. Taking some small steps to be prepared can keep your machine running safely out on the trail. We’ve shared some tips about safe winter riding in a past article. But what if you do get caught out in the cold. Hopefully this never happens. But if it does, you’ll want to be prepared for exposure to cold temperatures. We’ve put together some cold weather survival tips that could be helpful.
Cold weather survival. What to watch for…
You can become dehydrated in the cold, just like you can in the heat. But your body is a lot less likely to let you know it’s thirsty in the cold. Keeping yourself hydrated is important. If you don’t have anything to drink, you can use snow to rehydrate. But you need to warm it first. Don’t eat it. Cold snow can chill your core from within and that will speed up the onset of hypothermia. Melt the snow first, then drink it.
Dressing for the Weather –
Clothing makes a big difference when facing the cold. Use Layers. Each layer will help trap your body heat and keep you warmer. Plus, you’ll have more control over changes in your body temperature. This can help you avoid sweating. Make sure your outer layer is waterproof and expose as little of your skin as possible. Keep your ears, hands and feet warm. When doing this, again, use layers. Layering gloves and socks will keep you extra warm.
Building a Shelter –
If you’re stuck out in the cold, finding a place out of the wind and snow will be vital. You’ll need to find or build something that can keep you out of the elements. You can look for an existing structure, like a cabin. You can also look for an alcove or cave. If you don’t find anything, you’ll want to build some sort of lean-to, snow pit or snow cave. Here’s a great article if you’d like more information on building shelters.
Building a Fire –
If you can build a fire, do it. This can be trick to do in the snow though. Hopefully you’ve got some supplies with you. Waterproof matches and some fire starter cubes would help a lot. You’ll need to pick a good site and dig a pit or build a platform. You’ll also need to collect some dry wood. For tips and tricks on how to get a good fire going check out this article.
Never Ride Alone –
Use the buddy system. This is always a good idea regardless of the season.
Do you have any tips or suggestions that have been helpful for you? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.